Surveys: 10 Things Companies Should Think About

Categories: Brand Comparison, Brand Feedback, Customer Intelligence, Fortune 5000 Company, Market Research, Social Media

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I recently attended a Social Media Today web Seminar Called Can You Hear Me Now? Are You Listening, Really Listening, to Your Customer?   The content was terrific and I would highly recommend it, but I found it interesting when Jenny Dervin from JetBlue said, “Customers are getting surveyed too much – every time they fly they get a survey about it.”  I would strongly recommend you check out the archive as it touched upon a lot of key points about the challenges with getting great feedback from customers and then what to do with it once you have it.

US Estimated Population

Estimates as of May 21, 2012

As of May 21st, there were more than 313 million people in the US alone according to the US Census Bureau.  Companies of all sizes are competing with one another to make sure that the have valuable market research, data about their buying habits, and preferences to ensure that they are doing everything possible to secure their share of wallet.

A lot of hard work, budget, and time goes into this at large companies, but sometimes the best ideas can be as simple as someone sharing whats on their mind.   Large companies think of new ways to motivate customers, go to outside agencies, and we have research organizations working to design and execute surveys.

We have built a company as we believe customers are starting to shy away from surveys and that trend will continue.  However, we do believe it will happen over a period of time.  As you begin to think through how you survey customers moving forward, consider these 10 reasons why consumers will become less likely to take surveys in years to come.

1.  Consumer Education – Consumers are more educated about the power of technology. They know full well that companies use the information to market more stuff , clutter their email inbox, and target them in social channels.

2.  What’s In It For Me – The respondents end up answering questions the company feels are important but don’t always satisfy their personal needs in the process.

3.  Survey Repetitiveness – Let’s be honest – surveys are boring.  Companies sell survey templates - if you have seen one, you have seen them all, so be different while using best practices.

4.  We are busy – Who has 15 minutes to spare, or better yet, wants to take a survey to the post office and mail it (along with a donation)?

5.  Is Anyone Listening? – Consumers believe the feedback they provide often falls on deaf ears.  How often do you communicate to them what you are doing with the information they provided?

6.  Time Limits – Would you want to be on the clock, given three days to finish a survey, for a chance to win something?   Giving a consumer a deadline to help you comes off as being awfully selfish and more about your company than them.

7.  Our Conscience – In many instances, consumers hesitate to be really honest.  As an example, when we know how we answer a question might be tied back to an individuals job or their commission.  So, when you create compensation upside based on survey completes, and your sales reps tell the consumer, it puts everyone in an awkward position.

8.  Gestures of Thanks – Companies rarely thank us for helping them.  It is not hard – make your thank you memorable.

9.  Frequency of Surveys – We get asked to take one every time we buy something ranging a cup of coffee to a new car.   It causes us to instantly stretch our finger to the delete button at the top of the keyboard if you keep sending them non-stop.

10. Jumping the Gun – When we arrive at your web site somehow, whether directly or via search, we didn’t go there to take a survey – we went there to satisfy a need.  Let us do that first, please.

I am sure there are other tips too, and would encourage anyone reading to add their thoughts.

If you are thinking about how to reduce the number of surveys while gathering feedback, Justellus offers another option to compliment your market research efforts too.  Try us out, it is free.  And, as we tell our customers all the time, great companies want to know exactly what their customers are thinking and we are determined to help.

Good luck!